Archive | July, 2021

Kitchen drama

20 Jul

With a plethora of blueberries in the fridge, I decided to bake lemon blueberry bread. Now, I am an intermittent baker, and don’t like to turn the stove on in the summer, but a cool morning and the presence of all the necessary ingredients turned my idea into a reality.

Following the recipe, I first mixed the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, and salt – and set them aside. I put the butter in the microwave to melt as I moved on to the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, I combined the melted butter with sugar, then went to the fridge for the two eggs required. The shell of the first egg made a satisfactory crack as I hit it on the rim of the bowl. I pulled the shell halves apart and let the egg drop into the bowl.

I gagged almost immediately.

An overpowering odor rose from the greenish goo that sat atop the golden liquid in the bowl. I gagged again. And again. I gagged as I sloughed to offensive goo into a compost bag. I gagged as I carried the bag outside to the compost bin.

By the time I returned to the kitchen, I was back in control, but only just. And I had a big decision to make: toss it all, or start over? I’d already been thinking about biting into a slice of sweetbread, so I bravely picked up the egg carton, determined to start again. Uh, oh, I thought when I saw the expiration date on the egg carton. These eggs expired on December 28, 2020.

I pulled out a bowl and tentatively took another egg from the carton. It’s cracking refilled the kitchen with putridness and gagging. I tossed the remaining egg into another compost bag. As I took that bag to the compost bin, I tossed the carton into the recycling bin, gagging all the way.

Back in control once more, I pulled open the fridge door. I still had a full carton of eggs in the fridge, the legacy of my last baking binge. It’s expiration date was in early May. I paused for a moment, then pulled out the carton, and cautiously cracking an egg into a bowl. No odor emerged, but, twice bitten, I was wary. The color of this egg’s yolk didn’t seem quite right. Was that real or did I just imagine it? I decided to try another. If this egg seemed at all dodgy, I resolved to abandon my baking project.

Fortunately, that egg, and the one that followed were fine. I finished the mixing and as the bread baked, I cleaned the kitchen. That process included putting all the remaining eggs into a compost bag and disposing of them. Who knew when the baking bug would bite again. I did not want a repeat of the egg incident.

An hour later, I had a delicious treat to accompany my tea.

Bee butts

13 Jul

Everyday, I walk past a neighbor’s zinnia bed. It’s a little past the halfway mark on homeward leg of the journey. A rock wall surrounds the bed and Richard likes to stop and sniff the stones, eager to read the messages of his people. While he sniffs, I lean in, looking for bumble bees.

I have developed a fascination with bumble bees. One day, I noticed two bumble bees on the butterfly bush out my back door. Butterfly bushes are considered invasive species in Oregon and are very hard to kill, but the attract a variety of pollinators, including bumble bees.

Whenever I see a bee I lean in close. In college, a friend and I took a beekeeping class and set up a hive, which we later gave to a local beekeeper, as we moved on after graduation. I learned to be calm and gentle around bees and so I lean in when I see bees.

The butterfly bush hosted several bumble bees that day. I leaned in close and noticed that although they looked alike from a distance, the two bumble bees I leaned into, were very different. You think you know something and then you notice something and your world is rocked. This observation rocked my world. Not only were their stripes different, one of the bees had orange, in addition to yellow and black on its body. I did a little research and discovered the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas.

I had no idea that there was such variety. I have become an obsessed observer. Whenever Richard stops to sniff, I scan for bee butts, trying to see the colors and patterns.

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